Set up speakers correctly: The 2.0 or stereo system

November 2022

How and where do I best position my speakers? Ideally, you should ask yourself this question before you buy your speakers. Even though there are a few things to consider when positioning speakers for optimum sound, it's not rocket science. We have summarized a few tips from our sonoro audio experts for you, which not only apply to our hi-fi receivers MAESTRO / MAESTRO QUANTUM and our ORCHESTRA speaker line.

Setting up stereo speakers correctly: How to place speakers for the best sound

The simplest variant is the stereo system. This consists of just two speakers on the right and left that produce the sound. As there is no subwoofer here, we speak of a 2.0 system. If a subwoofer were included, we would call it a 2.1 system. Stereo systems are particularly suitable for listening to music, as they produce a spatial sound that conveys the depth and breadth of the music reproduction. By using two separate speakers, they can reproduce instruments and voices more clearly and realistically. This results in a more immersive and authentic listening experience.

Set up your stereo system optimally: The stereo triangle

A 2.0 system is best set up as a classic stereo triangle. Here it is important to consider in advance where you mainly want to listen to music and thus determine the most likely listening position. For our example, let's take a living room and set up the speakers so that they form an equilateral triangle (equal length of the sides) with the listening position on the couch. Voila! The stereo triangle is set up. The so-called sweet spot, i.e. the place with the optimum sound, is at the apex of the triangle. Although the sound comes from the right and left, it seems as if the sound is coming from the front.

Why is the stereo triangle important?

How is it that the position of the speakers has such a strong influence on the sound effect? In order to reach our ears, sound waves have to travel the distance between the sound source and our ears. The time it takes for the sound to do this is called the transit time. If a sound is played through several channels (e.g. two loudspeakers) with different travel times, the result can sound wrong in our perception of the sound. The surround sound suffers as a result and we have problems locating the sound sources.

Setting up speakers in a stereo system: What do I need to consider?

Our stereo triangle is now in a perfect isosceles triangle and the sound is therefore almost optimal? Yes and no. When setting up a stereo system, there are other important points to consider for the sound in addition to the triangular setup.

When setting up the speakers, pay attention to the distance between the speakers. If the distance is too small, the sounds will blend together. If they are too far apart, a kind of gap is created in the stereo image. For this reason, speakers should ideally be placed about two to three meters apart. Otherwise the stage will be very narrow; above this, it can fall apart.

The speakers need sufficient distance not only between the speakers, but also from the wall. There should be about 60 to 90 cm between the speaker and the nearest wall. This prevents unwanted sound reflections from the wall behind the speakers, which can have a negative effect on the sound reproduction. A speaker sounds wrong if it is too close to the wall. Sufficient distance significantly improves the mids and bass.

The height of the speakers is also very important. Speakers are best placed when the tweeters are at ear level. Unless the speakers are large towers, they should never simply be placed on the floor. If you don't have suitable furniture at home, you should consider speaker stands such as the sonoro STAND.

Please do not place anything in front of the speakers! Sounds logical, but occasionally you see plants and other decorative elements or curtains in front of the speakers. These distort the sound and can have a negative impact on the listening experience.

Every room is different!

The basic principle applies when setting up loudspeakers: Every room is different! The living room in particular is a special room and usually not optimized for sound quality. It is often the largest room with the largest volume, which first needs to be filled with sound. There are many pieces of furniture, reflective surfaces and other disruptive factors. Most living rooms contain a colorful mix of materials such as textiles made of leather, fabric or wool and surfaces such as parquet, marble or glass. It is therefore difficult to make general statements about the optimal positioning of loudspeakers. The best result for your own taste is usually achieved after some trial and error. However, if you pay attention to the basics, this will be much quicker.

Sound optimization via room correction app

To compensate for some of the influences mentioned above, some of our audio systems offer the option of so-called "room correction" via an app. This simply involves taking measurements/recordings at various points in the room using a smartphone or special microphone. In this way, the system detects any room modes (in simple terms, standing sound waves that can occur at certain locations in the room) that can negatively affect the sound quality and compensates for them by adjusting the settings. Our MAESTRO Quantum uses the powerful DIRAC Live app, for example.